Essay Edna Pontellier’s Search for Independence in Chopin's The Awakening

Essay Edna Pontellier’s Search for Independence in Chopin's The Awakening

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Edna's Search for Independence in The Awakening

 
    "How do you honor the deepest truth you know?" --Ram Das        In order to honor one's deepest truth, one must first discover what that truth is and then apply that truth to everyday life.  The life of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening signifies the search, discovery, and application of an individual's deepest truth.  Edna, a wealthy New Orleans housewife, at first attempts to find the deepest truth about herself by conforming to society's norms.  She marries a well-respected man, Leonce, and bears him children.  However, Edna discovers that she wants more out of life; something about her marriage is not allowing her to achieve fulfillment.  Through her relationships, confrontations, and conflicts with other characters, Edna discovers that her deepest truth is her need for independence from those that hold her back and she honors her deepest truth by exerting the power of her individuality.  However, Edna's search for and exertion of independence drastically contrasts the expected role of a nineteenth century woman in Louisiana and this fact eventually causes the entrapment which leads to Edna's suicide. Edna cannot have the things she wants (independence and freedom), and she cannot want the things she has (respectability, children, and a good home) and she must find a way to escape this predicament.  Chopin, by demonstrating Edna's awakening, attempts to wake her own society up to the beauty of an independent woman.  However, Louisiana was not very receptive, just as Edna's culture does not accept Edna's change.

 

            The first indication that Edna is not cut out to be the perfect Creole housewife occurs through Edna's conflicts with her husband, Leonce...


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...orks Cited 

Hart, Kelly. "The Pontellier Children."  University of North Carolina. 



http://www.masslinks.com/~stardog/12.html.  1998.



Linn, Catherine.  "Leonce Pontellier."  University of North Carolina. 



http://www.masslinks.com/~stardog/6.html.  1998.



Quinn, Sandy.  "Madame Ratignolle."  University of North Carolina. 



http://www.masslinks.com/~stardog/9.html. 1998.



Robitaille, Jennifer.  "Chopin's Inventiveness."  Alma College. 



http://members.tripod.com/~GennyLee/index6.html.  1997.



Wyatt, Neal.  "Ways of Interpreting Edna's Suicide.  Virginia Commonwealth University.   "http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/eng384/suicide.htm. 1999.



Wyatt, Neal.  "Historical and Cultural Background of The Awakening."  Virginia Commonwealth University. http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/eng384/katetime.htm.  1999.

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